Don't get stuck in a flood - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Don't get stuck in a flood

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) -- To Whitfield County Emergency Services (EMS) director Claude Craig, flood safety is serious business. There's particular focus on it Friday as Severe Weather Awareness Week for the  state of Georgia concludes.

"Turn around. Don't drown," urges Craig.

It may sound corny, but flooding and flash flooding cause millions of dollars of damage each year in the U.S. and it can also be deadly.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) floods kill more people in an average year than any other weather event except extreme heat. Around half those fatalities take place in automobiles, 63% in Georgia in 2011.

The reason, says Craig, is because motorists often underestimate the depth and power of moving water.

"One foot of water can move a 3000 pound car," says Craig. That's about the size of a Honda Accord. 

His crews try to prevent these catastrophes before flooding gets too out of control.

"We get out there right off the bat and get our high water signs and our road closed signs," explains Craig. But not everyone obeys these signs.

Marlene Cummings and her husband, David, have lived in Ringgold for decades and have seen their share of floods. Thankfully they've never been stuck in their car. Just the thought of it scares them.

"I don't know what I would do," exclaims Marlene. "I can't imagine trying to go through it because I know your car would stall."

There may also be a washed out road, forcing you to be swirled into a sinkhole beneath the high water.

Flooding poses dangers for children, too. Swiftly moving water can knock them off their feet or worse.

"We've had the unfortunate experience of people drowning in storm drains," recalls Craig. "The little kids want to get out and play in the water."

With more rain on the way on top of last month's flooding, he wants us all to be careful.

"The rivers are up and we're looking at an event coming into next week where we may possibly get a good bit more of rain," says Craig.

Also, EMS and NWS work together to educate communities through public events.

The best way to be prepared is to know when Flood Watches or Flood Warnings have been issued. Buy a NOAA weather radio, watch Channel 3 for your latest forecast, visit our web site's weather page for weather alerts, and use our free iRadar app for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices..

There's also a free phone available from the state of Georgia. For more information about flooding and other severe weather topics visit http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/?n=swaw_2013 .

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